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John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN SPUTNIK

 

“Promised Land: Israel to Build More Settlements in the Teeth of Trump and UN”

The press quietly accepts Israel’s loaded language for these events.

‘Settlements” and “settlement-building” and “settlers” are terms deliberately selected to sound wholesome and harmless, but they are euphemisms for what is really going on, which are acts of theft combined with suppression of a people they have no legal right to control or govern.

The language is just the kind of stuff George Orwell wrote about in “Politics and the English Language,” a great essay about how tyranny uses and abuses language. It earlier captured many of the ideas incorporated into “1984.”

We, in the West, think of settlers in general as admirable types for the most part. Covered wagons, sod houses, hard workers, start-up farms on land laboriously-cleared. “Little House on the Prairie” in the story’s most sentimental and beloved formulation.

The country into which they rode, and upon which they built farms, was largely uninhabited. The people who did live there, lived in a very different fashion without the same kinds of large, permanent settlements.

But it is entirely the opposite case in Palestine.

The land is already settled, settled in a manner much the same as European civilization, and has been for ages, and much of it has already been well developed by Palestinians, as you may see dramatically in images linked at the end of these comments.

The Israeli “settlers” are simply invaders and thieves, although they come wrapped in a preposterous cloud of biblical words from 2,500 years ago, words totally irrelevant to almost all of humanity today and words so outdated, they are nothing more than a way to generate hatred and intolerance and lawlessness in the modern world.

Of course, by the same logic and with equal justification, modern Greece could claim part of Turkey owing to the Greek victory at Troy some 3,000 years ago.

Imagine claiming the fishing grounds of some modern country, say Norway, on the basis of the story of Jonah having been swallowed and carried around by a large fish?

Or Israel’s claiming the territory of Egypt because of Moses and supposed Israeli slavery, modern archeology, by the way, having proved definitely that the Israeli never even lived in Egypt?

Of course, the final bitter irony of Israel’s slowly absorbing the homes and farms of others is that the process doesn’t just steal property, it reduces the former inhabitants to a stateless limbo with no rights and no votes and no hope of any kind.

North America’s native people all, long ago, became full citizens of the states and provinces in which they reside. They enjoy every freedom of the population at large, including the right to vote. Many choose to live separately in homelands, but they are completely free to leave and go wherever they wish and with no permission of any kind required. Nor will they face armed check-points and arbitrary search and arrest. Palestinians live in prisons, prisons whose size is being steadily reduced with not the least thought for the inhabitants.

If we were to call Israel’s settlers what they truly are, we would call them small invading armies, the Huns or the Goths, only on a smaller scale, and the entire movement amounts essentially to a slow-motion aggressive war or ethnic-cleansing. There are no nice associations with those words, as there are with “settlers.”

Of course, Israel is protected from the true description of its activities in a Western corporate press serving the American empire because Israel is truly most accurately described as America’s colony in the Middle East. You will never, search as you might, find a harsh word describing a very harsh situation.

Indeed, the New York Times – aptly described as the official house organ of the American power establishment – passes every single story about Israel through the official Israeli Censor before publication. Hard to be more protected than that from the bad publicity you have completely earned.

A nasty colony indeed, but no corporate press or establishment politician in the West dares question America’s imperialism, just as we see today in Europe, vis-à-vis Russia, now treated as though it, too, were a gang of crude Philistines of the Old Testament rather than the modern, forward-looking country that it is.

Readers will be interested in a set of aerial photographs, below, from 1937, almost a decade before Israel was artificially re-created. It is clear that much of Palestine was already highly developed. The stuff about Israel making the desert bloom is just the purest propaganda, except of course to the degree Israel infamously diverted and stole much of the region’s limited water resources to be used for the irrigation of produce exports.

http://www.haaretz.com/life/1.775195

 

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